GWEN JOHN (1876-1936, British)

Gwen John  became interested in art along with her brother, Augustus John, at a young age and attended various art schools.  Her love of art landed her in France in 1904.  Soon she met and fell in love with, perhaps the most famous artist of the time, the sculptor, Auguste Rodin. Rodin introduced her to many famous artists of the time:  Pablo Picasso, George Barque, Henri Matisse and Cezanne.  John also made the acquaintance, through Rodin, of John Quinn, an American collector.  Quinn would later support her both financially and emotionally until his death in 1924.  Even though she exhibited her work in Paris at the Salon d’Automne in 1919, and well into the mid-1920’s, she never gained the notoriety that she would after her death.  Known for painting muted colored portraits in a  ¾ length pose, John was a methodical perfectionist.  Because of failing eye sight and health, she ceased painting around 1920, and lived in the village of Meudon where she kept only the company of her cats.  John lived most of her life in France and died in Dieppe in 1936.  During her lifetime she produced approximately 158 paintings in addition to drawings and sketches.